The United States military claims it killed an estimated 49 militants during a dawn raid to capture an Iranian-linked militia chief in Baghdad’s Sadr City enclave, one of the highest tolls for a single operation since the famous surge began. However, Iraq police reported only 15 deaths and said they all were civilians, including three children. It is reported that Prime Minister Maliki met with the U.S. commander in Iraq in protest against the raid. The Associated Press showed photos of two toddlers lying dead on a morgue floor, their parents said they were killed when helicopter fire hit their house. A local resident said many of the dead were people sleeping on roofs to escape the heat of hot day.
The American military insists there were no civilian casualties in a raid to capture a alleged rogue militia chief whose identity was not revealed any more than information if he was captured. American military sources insist “an estimated 49 criminals” were killed in raids against these supposed militants. In the fire fight, initially about 33 militants were killed by ground forces while six were killed by helicopter fire. As U.S. forces left the area there was a road side bomb explosion which resulted in additional firing. A local resident named Abu Fatmah said his neighbor’s 14 year-old son was “killed by an airstrike and what is his guilt? Is he from the Mahdi Army? He is a poor student.” APTN video showed three bloodied boys sitting on hospital tables and an elderly man being treated for a head wound.
Air attacks in an urban area invariably result in the death of innocent people. This was proven in World War II, in Vietnam, and it is currently happening in Iraq.